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Delta Skymiles Equals How Much Money

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 6 minute read

The annual price of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is $99, however, the first year’s fee is waived because the card is aimed at frequent Delta fliers who can accumulate rewards quickly enough to offset the cost of the card. 

The process is as follows:

  • You can earn two SkyMiles for every dollar you spend at any restaurant around the globe or at any supermarket in the United States, as well as on any purchase made directly with Delta.
  • Spend one dollar, and get one SkyMiles on anything else you buy.
  • If you’ve racked up enough SkyMiles, you may cash them in for a flight on Delta, or any number of additional perks offered through the SkyMiles Marketplace.

Credit cards with similar features and benefits, such as the Capital One Venture Rewards and the Chase Sapphire Preferred, also charge an annual fee and offer similar perks to this one.

It goes up against cards from airlines, hotels, and retailers that charge an annual fee, such as the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer and the Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard.

Key Characteristics

A significant rewards program and continuous perks are two of the main characteristics of the Delta SkyMiles Gold card.

Greeting Offer

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Gaining Status Miles on Delta

With no limits or minimums, you can earn 2 SkyMiles for every $1 spent on Delta travel, in-flight purchases, lounge access, and other miscellaneous expenses. 

You’ll get two miles for every dollar spent at restaurants anywhere in the globe or at supermarkets in the United States. SkyMiles accrue at the rate of 1 for every $1 spent on everything else, no questions asked.

Use of SkyMiles

You can redeem your SkyMiles for flights on Delta starting at just 10,000 miles for domestic economy one-ways and 12,500 miles for open-ended bookings. Depending on the time of year and the number of people looking to book flights, you may have to pay extra for your mileage. 

Flights to a major tourist site, for instance, may be more expensive on a Friday during the high season than they would be on a Tuesday during the low season. There is some leeway in the range of $0.005 to $0.02 for the value of an airline frequent flyer point. 

SkyMiles can be exchanged for a wide variety of products, gift cards, and experiences like concerts and sporting events at the SkyMiles MarketPlace, an online marketplace, at a rate of exchange often much below $0.01 per mile. The required minimum number of miles to redeem for products often starts at 2,000 and goes up from there.

Bonus for Annual Spending

If you spend $10,000 or more on qualifying items in a calendar year, Delta will give you a $100 flight credit.

Travel Advantages with Delta

Numerous Delta-specific travel advantages are included with the Delta SkyMiles Gold Card:

  • A 20% discount on all in-flight purchases
  • One free checked bag for the cardholder ($60 value, round-trip)
  • Priority boarding

Significant Fees

There is no international transaction cost and the $99 annual fee is waived for the first year. Fees for both balance transfers and cash advances are greater than $5 or 3%.

Credit Required

You need exceptional to decent credit to qualify for this card.

Advantages

To take advantage of all of these perks, you may want to apply for a Delta SkyMiles Gold Card.

  1. When redeemed for airfare, SkyMiles can be quite useful. When redeemed for a flight on Delta, a SkyMiles is worth at least $0.075, usually between $0.001 and $0.002, and occasionally much more. It’s important to keep in mind that the value of your points may change during redemption, even for identical routes, depending on a number of factors.
  2. Sale Prices While in Flight. On longer flights, when you need a variety of snacks and entertainment options, the 20% discount that Delta offers on all in-flight purchases is a welcome bonus. Both the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer and the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature don’t provide any savings like that.
  3. That’s a nice introductory deal. In comparison to similar cards, this one has a more generous sign-up bonus and no hefty minimum spending limit.
  4. A nice yearly stipend for spending. If you spend $10,000 or more in a calendar year, Delta will give you a $100 credit.
  5. There will be no additional costs for making a foreign exchange. If you frequently travel abroad, you’ll appreciate that the Gold Delta SkyMiles card doesn’t charge you a fee for making purchases made in a foreign currency. Unfortunately, Citi’s Expedia+ Card charges a foreign transaction fee of 3% of each purchase made with the card.
  6. Accumulated Mileage Has No Time Limit. Any accumulated SkyMiles on this card will remain valid indefinitely so long as your account is active. British Airways Visa Signature, like many other airline and hotel rewards credit cards, has a one-year waiting period before you can start earning or redeeming points.

Disadvantages

When deciding whether or not to apply for a Delta SkyMiles Gold card, keep these disadvantages in mind.

  1. Acquirable for a One-Time Annual Price. Unlike other travel rewards cards, such as Expedia+ from Citi and Capital One VentureOne Rewards, this one charges an annual fee of $99.
  2. Carries a high-interest rate of punishment. There is a high penalty APR that will kick in if you miss a payment or two on this card. Credit card holders with the British Airways Visa Signature or the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer do not have this issue.
  3. Weak Point Redemption Values for Rewards Other Than Airfare. At the time of redemption, Delta flight provides the greatest value for accrued SkyMiles. SkyMiles are only worth $0.003 to $0.005 when used to buy general products and gift cards in the SkyMiles Marketplace, where prices commonly range from 2 to 3 SkyMiles per $0.01. The starting point for economy one-way flights, which can cost $100, $200, or more, is only 10,000 points. Unfortunately, SkyMiles MarketPlace’s poor redemption rates make Delta’s rewards program more stringent than it has to be. Instead, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card if you’re looking for a travel rewards credit card that offers flexible redemption options at competitive rates.
  4. The ROI on Most Non-Delta Purchases Is Low. Everyday purchases won’t earn you rewards as rapidly with this card. The time and money required to earn a free flight are also increased because only Delta purchases, restaurant purchases, and supermarket purchases in the United States receive more than 1 SkyMiles for $1 spent.
  5. There will be no automatic promotions or changes to your status. When you sign up for the Delta SkyMiles Gold Card, you won’t automatically be upgraded to a higher loyalty status, which usually comes with bonuses like hotel discounts and faster point accumulation, but this isn’t the case with the Delta SkyMiles Gold Card. Expedia Gold status, which includes a 30% point bonus on all purchases and complimentary hotel room upgrades when available, is included with the Citi Expedia+ Voyager Card immediately.

Bottom Line

As a result of the SkyMiles MarketPlace, Delta and American Express can truthfully say that customers can use their accrued SkyMiles for much more than only Delta airfare. There are a plethora of other airlines and airline rewards card issuers who provide similarly attractive discounts on goods and services. 

But the cost is where the devil really is. SkyMiles MarketPlace drastically inflates the point costs of its items, often costing two to three times as much as you’d pay on Amazon or in a traditional store.

Fortunately, the flight redemption rates for Delta SkyMiles Gold are on par with or higher than those of the competition. The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is the best option for savvy travelers looking to save money on Delta flights. You should seek elsewhere if you want to spend your points on things you’ll actually use.

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